It’s been a long and winding road for the city to secure all the $ needed for the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project, which will widen (and change the ramp configuration of) the West Seattle Bridge section between 99 and I-5. And now, the mayor’s office is asking for support in fighting a legislative proposal — an amendment to the House transportation budget just unveiled this week, and coming up on the floor tomorrow — that they say would put some of the money at risk again. Here’s how mayoral spokesperson Alex Fryer explains it:
Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson introduced an amendment of HB 1314 (information, status here) with this section:
b) In order to ensure that the city of Seattle complies with its commitment as described in subsection (a) of this subsection, the state shall make $50,000,000 of the transportation partnership account-state appropriation as provided in the 2009-2011 transportation budget, or as much thereof as is appropriated from this account, whichever is smaller, available for contribution to the south Spokane Street Viaduct component of the Alaskan Way viaduct replacement project, contingent on the city of Seattle complying with this subsection.
Basically, this links $50 million of state money for Spokane Street Viaduct project to improvements the city was already going to make in the central waterfront and north end with the deep-bore tunnel. The problem is the widening of the Spokane Street Viaduct is expected to go to construction later this year, and tunnel improvements aren’t expected for several years – when the tunnel is nearing completion in early 2016.
We’re worried that Dickerson’s amendment, which passed (earlier this week) in the transportation committee, is now part of the House transportation budget. We want the state House to strip this provision, which could derail completing the Spokane Street Viaduct project by 2012.
We need folks to take action.
Call the state legislative Hotline at 800-562-6000. Ask for Eileen Cody, Sharon Nelson, Frank Chopp or Judy Clibborn and tell them to stop dickering and start building.
Reps. Cody and Nelson represent our area specifically – their websites are linked from here. Fryer says the Governor and Senate are opposed to this proposal, but it comes up on the House floor tomorrow.
ADDED THURSDAY NIGHT: Rep. Nelson says in comments below that she and Rep. Cody are on the case.